The New Environment for Analysis
Over the next decade, the challenges that confront Intelligence Community (IC) analysis will continue to outpace the resources available to meet them. The level of investment in intelligence analysis has declined through the 1990s, and overall investment will continue to decline in real terms over the next five years. Without significantly increased investment, Intelligence Community analysis will fall behind the pace of global events, the rapid flow of information, and the demand of collectors for guidance on priorities—increasing the risk of national security surprises or intelligence failures.
- Investment in analysis has declined as a portion of the National Foreign Intelligence Program (NFIP) since 1990, and its share of the NFIP budget is projected to decline further by FY 2005.
- Analysis funding is also declining in real terms.
- The effect of inflation on analysis spending is magnified by rising personnel costs, which are increasing faster than inflation. As a result, even though the number of analysts has declined dramatically since 1990 and will increase only modestly through FY 2007, the cost of paying their salaries is increasing steadily.
Critical Priorities for Investment
National Intelligence Production Board (NIPB) members have identified 11 critical priorities for analytic investment, which are grouped into six pillars—investing in people, technology, intelligence priorities, customer support, interacting with collectors, and external expertise.
Investing in People
The intelligence business is fundamentally about skills and expertise, and this means people—people in whom we will need to invest more to deal with the array of complex challenges we face over the next generation. No system or technology by itself will enable us to master the new threat environment nor manage the glut of information we will face in the years ahead. We will need a skilled and expert work force enabled by technology and armed with the best analytic tools.
Previous studies have shown that the IC lacks depth—or coverage—in many key areas, a problem that will grow as many experts retire during the next few years. It pointed, in particular, to a chronic shortage of language and science and technology skills.
Among other things, the SIP proposes:
- Additional resources to develop, beginning in FY 2001, an interagency training program to realize efficiencies where possible and to complement agency-specific programs. The interagency program will include the establishment of common training requirements and support for the concept of a “virtual university” and will lay the groundwork for a real National Intelligence Academy for IC training and education.
- Increased funding for language, collection management, and other specialized training.
- The designation of training billets, equal to ten percent of the current analytic personnel strength.
- Periodic NIPB meetings, chaired by the ADCI/AP, to track progress on critical management issues such as work force diversity.
Technology will continue to challenge us in every area of our business—from operations and collection in the field, to protecting our own information systems, to analytic tools, to dissemination of analysis to consumers. Technology is also our best hope of dealing with the massive amounts of information available today.
The analytic community, for the past several years, has rated the establishment of interagency electronic connectivity and the introduction of collaborative technologies as a critical priority. Indeed, the Community is already spending significant resources and effort to improve current capabilities and advance toward a true collaborative and technologically enabled workplace. But much more needs to be done.
The SIP recommends:
- A community-wide strategy to achieve a virtual work environment enabled by collaborative and analytic tools, and interoperable databases to improve the comprehensiveness and timeliness of our analysis.
- An IC collaboration center to facilitate the analytic community’s move from pilots to enterprise and IC-wide deployment. The center will focus on mapping, testing, and recommending improvements to community analysis and production processes; identifying metrics and codifying best practices; and facilitating the integration of advanced analytic tools. It will work through, and in concert with, existing agency-specific efforts.
- The breaking down of barriers and the sharing of databases of critical and common concern. The ADCI/AP and IC Chief Information Officer (CIO) are focusing initial efforts on a few select databases. These initial efforts will help the analytic community identify potential obstacles to and establish guidelines for future large-scale collaborative efforts.
Today’s fast-moving threat environment continues to hamper the IC’s ability to provide sustained guidance on priorities. Analytic programs are stretching scarce resources against dispersed and shifting priorities in an increasingly operational environment. NIPB members recognize that closer collaboration among IC agencies is the key to improving strategic analysis and warning, and to developing a dynamic national prioritization process.
The SIP calls for:
- NIPB-level collaboration in determining intelligence priorities, reducing unnecessary duplication of effort, and addressing the issue of competing requirements to ensure sustained intelligence focus on priority targets, as well as appropriate emphasis on strategic analysis and global coverage.
- Increased investment in strategic analysis over the next five years and an expanded Community Warning Staff to routinely structure IC games and competitive and alternative analysis on issues of high stakes to the United States.
- A strengthened role for the DCI production committees in projecting scientific and technological trends that are likely to have a fundamental impact on national security interests and the intelligence environment.
The Intelligence Community’s number one priority is to provide its customers with the best possible custom-tailored intelligence whenever and wherever they need it. Our ability to do so depends, in large part, on how well we understand and respond to customers’ needs and on how much our products help them do their jobs.
The SIP proposes:
- Increased use of web-based solutions and commercial operating technology—such as digital production—to refine the analytic community’s production processes and reduce unnecessary duplication of effort. This will enable agencies to better track customer requests, measure productivity, share information, and distribute intelligence products.
- Better and more consistent methods for evaluating products and measuring how well we are satisfying customer needs.
Interacting with Collectors
A close and continuing relationship between the analytic and collection communities is imperative if we are to develop effective collection strategies against increasingly diverse and hard-to-penetrate targets. Analysts must play a more active role in the targeting, requirements, evaluation, and acquisition processes. Resources, however, are stretched in the effort to meet this demand.
The SIP calls for:
- More training in collection disciplines for analysts and a strengthened community-wide collection evaluation program.
- Additional resources to support analysts’ participation in the development of collection strategies through interagency community mechanisms.
- Increased investment in collaborative tools to address the needs of analysts, and to ensure that the analytic community can rapidly integrate data as it is collected and processed.
- A comprehensive National Integrated Intelligence Requirements Process to provide direction on intelligence priorities and collection requirements and to monitor and guide the pre-acquisition efforts of agency and IC requirements management systems.
Assessments of IC analtyic capabilities have noted a growing acceptance of the IC’s reliance on outside expertise, but considerable differences among IC components in both the focus and the extent of their use of outside experts. The situation is improving steadily, and the Intelligence Community today is doing a lot with outside experts. It recognizes, however, that it must do more to process and exploit the open source environment more effectively, supplement its base of knowledge, fill important information gaps, and stimulate innovative thinking and alternative viewpoints. This means developing outside partnerships and recapturing lost expertise through the use of reserves and other mechanisms.
The SIP recommends:
- A comprehensive open source strategy to embrace and exploit the emerging “information environment.” The Community needs to develop a corporate strategy to take advantage of the numerous private companies now providing open source data geared to specific customer interests. It also needs to exploit the Internet and other open media more effectively and efficiently.
- An Intelligence Community reserve—composed of self-selected annuitants—that can be used to augment the analytic cadre for purposes of both surge and normal coverage.
- Expanded partnerships with industry, academia, and other government agencies; appropriate capabilities to communicate and share information more readily with outside experts; and necessary policy and procedural changes to facilitate these efforts.
Where do we go from here?
This investment plan articulates the goals of the analytic community and also provides guidance to analytic program managers as they build their agency-specific budgets. Through this effort, the NIPB agencies have committed to an enduring collaborative framework that will be reflected in the FYDP in clear resource terms. A permanent interagency Strategic Investment Committee will meet with the ADCI/AP to update the SIP each year, to review prioritization of strategic requirements for IC analysis, to flag and foster individual agency initiatives that support SIP goals, and to identify interagency projects to be championed by the ADCI/AP.